Why spend a mint on sweet indulgences this Valentine’s Day? These sinfully decadent homemade desserts will have you hitting that sweet spot with ease!
Who says you can’t have your heart-shaped box of chocolates and eat them too this Valentine’s Day? One of the few occasions of the year when it’s considered socially acceptable to gorge yourself on chocolates and all manner of sweet treats, Valentine’s may just be the most expensive out of the lot (sorry, Easter and Halloween…) as we offer up our hard-earned rials to the marketing machine that is the confectionery industry.
Because after all, it’s Valentine’s and only the best brand names will do – so the pressure’s on. We say queue up for a refund, Cupid! Homemade with love always tastes better, and these decadently indulgent and deceptively simple desserts will have hearts soaring this V-Day. The best part? You can forget the bill – these goodies are rich enough.
Kids will have just as much fun making and decorating these buttery-crumbly biscuits as they will scoffing them!
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hour 40 mins
For the cookies
• 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for surface
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1/2 tsp salt
• 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
• 1 cup granulated sugar
• 1 large egg
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1 tbsp milk
For the buttercream
• 1 (225g) block cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
• 4 cups powdered sugar
• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/4 tsp salt
• Pink and red food colouring
• In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. In another large bowl, using a hand-mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy and pale in colour. Add egg, milk, and vanilla and beat until combined, then add flour mixture gradually until totally combined.
• Shape into a disk and wrap in plastic. Refrigerate for one hour.
• When ready to roll, pre-heat oven to 180º Celsius and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Lightly flour a clean work surface and roll out dough until 0.25cm thick. Using a heart-shaped cookie cutter, cut out cookies and transfer to prepared baking sheets.
• Bake until edges are lightly golden, for eight to 10 minutes.
• Make frosting: in a large bowl using a hand-mixer, beat cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Add powdered sugar, vanilla and salt then beat until combined.
• Divide frosting into three bowls. Add pink food colouring to one bowl and red food colouring to another. Stir each bowl and add more food colouring until the desired colour is reached. Frost cookies using an offset spatula with each colour of frosting, then top with sprinkles.
After a couple of forkfuls of this crunchy-moist delight, you may never go back to your bog-standard chocolate cake again…
• 6 tbsps (3/4 stick) unsalted butter
• 3 1/4 cups (565g) semi-sweet chocolate chips
• 3 extra-large eggs
• 1 cup sugar
• 1 tbsp instant coffee granules
• 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
• 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
• 1/4 tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 1 cup (113g) chopped walnuts
• 2 to 3 tbsps heavy cream
• Grease and flour a 22cm tart pan with removable sides. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
• Melt the butter in a bowl set over simmering water. Add two cups of the chocolate chips, remove from the heat and stir until the chocolate melts. Set aside to cool completely.
• In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, coffee and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about three minutes. Stir in the cooled chocolate. In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, salt, one cup of the chocolate chips and the walnuts. Fold the flour mixture into the batter until just combined. Pour into the pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the centre is puffed (the top may crack). The inside will still be very soft. Cool to room temperature before removing the sides of the tart pan.
• Melt the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chips with the heavy cream, and drizzle on the tart.
(Source: Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten and www.foodnetwork.com)
If fools rush in as the old song goes, then we’re making a beeline for this creamy-cool cup that zings of fresh fruit.
For the cookies
• 1 cup heavy cream, chilled
• 2 cups fresh (or frozen) strawberries
• 1 tbsp sugar
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• a few strawberries, sliced, for garnish
• Place chilled heavy cream in a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer.
• Beat until light and fluffy, being careful not to overheat.
• Set aside or chill until ready to use. You might need to whisk it or beat it again for a few seconds if you don’t use it right away and it separates.
• Place strawberries in a medium-sized bowl.
• Sprinkle with sugar and add vanilla extract.
• Mash the strawberries, leaving some larger pieces.
• Let stand for a few minutes.
• Add about half of the mashed strawberries to the whipped cream, folding with a large silicone spatula.
• Reserve the remaining strawberries to use when serving.
• Spoon some of the cream into four serving glasses or dishes, top with some of the remaining mashed strawberries, and another spoonful or two of the cream and a few sliced strawberries.
• Serve immediately, or place in fridge to chill until ready to serve.
How many of these retro Valentine’s candies did you nosh on back in the day?
They may not have tasted like much, but these iconic conversation candies were pretty vocal in helping us express our love! Fun fact: This Valentine’s will mark the first time in 116 years that the chalky love hearts won’t be available, after their U.S. manufacturer declared bankruptcy.
Imperial Cinnamon Hearts
If you’ve ever stripped off a layer of skin on your tongue with the burn from a handful of these red-hot hearts, you probably grew up in the 80s or early 90s. But by Cupid, they hurt so good!
Allan’s Hot Lips
These cinnamon-flavoured gummies gave Imperial’s hearts a run for their money with their off-the-charts level of heat and sweet. Not to mention they allowed 80s kids to unleash their inner Rolling Stones!